Palawan Chronicles: Meeting the “Locals”

We only have one full day at Apulit Island so time is of the essence!  Gotta do what we gotta do, and this day turned out better than I had anticipated.  Here’s our second day at the island.

Good morning, Apulit Island!

This is part of a series

Our second day at the island started relatively early.  We decided to join the Isla Blanca tour which was to leave from the pier (called Serena Pier) at 9AM.  Our breakfast is a buffet and I wanted to take my time to enjoy it prior to the tour so it’s a slight trade-off with sleep.  Yes, all our meals in the island: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are all buffets!  If you’re really not in the mood to do any activities, you can actually end up just eating the whole day!

Our first visitor of the day, a blue-spotted stingray, swimming just below our cottage.
Didn’t have to go too far to see another of the “locals.”
They’re not in our checklist so I don’t know what bird species they are.
We caught these birds playing around the pool and even washing their feet as they chase each other.
I love that El Nido Resorts always incorporate Filipino foods with the buffet!
It gives the mostly non-Filipino guests an opportunity to try our local dishes.
Imagine having this view while having your breakfast.
(I didn’t have to as I was there, hahaha)
And when we got back to our cottage, this school of fish greeted us.
The reported sightings of the past few days.

It took us around 40 minutes to get to Isla Blanca.  And what a sight this tiny island was!  It has fine creamy white sands all over, some mangroves on the sides, some trees here and there.  But we’re not here for the island itself—we’re here for the coral reefs surrounding it!

Goodbye for now, Apulit!

Arriving at Isla Blanca…
It is much bigger than the previous photo would suggest.
However, there’s more to this island than meets the eye.
I would not miss the chance to have a selfie in such a beautiful corner of the world!
There’s something peculiar with some of the footprints on this beach…

What lies beneath the waters surrounding Isla Blanca.
Believe it or not, this is just a few meters away from the beach!

That’s the boat that carried us to this lovely island.

We were back on Apulit Island before noon and since we’re not that hungry yet, we decided to check out the beach on the other side of the island near where we ended our trek.  And along the way, we met some more of the “locals.”

We were just walking casually on the pathway when this big guy, a water monitor lizard, popped out of nowhere!
And he’s not alone!
This is one of the pocket beaches on this side of the island
I don’t know what tree this is but it reminds me of tamarind.
And this is the other, more secluded beach they call West Beach.

That afternoon, we decided to frolic on the beach and use the “toys” that are just lying around in the area.  There’s the stand-up paddle board, a basket-like boat, and the single and double kayaks.  We preferred the latter and we just paddled all around the area.  Even the coral reefs around here, near our cottages, look amazing!

Choose your poison…
Taking a selfie at a “floating island” just across the shore.
Our only means of getting here.
See what’s just below the waters near the cottages?

Hard to imagine that literally just a stone’s throw away from our cottages lie this amazing ecosystem.

I went back on dry land for some inland activities after reaching my quota of sunburn that afternoon.  This time, I’m joining the rock climbing activity.  And this time, it’s the real thing!  I’m going to be climbing an actual rock face!

This time around, I’m wearing proper rock-climbing shoes (provided in-house).
Starting my climb.
The challenge with doing rock-climbing on real rock formations is finding where to hold or step as there are no markers.
Channeling my inner Spiderman…
Generally, you need to use your legs to push you up but having good upper body strength also helps especially when you’re hardly stepping on anything.

I wasn’t that confident that I can bring my camera safely while I climbed so I didn’t have any shot when I reached the top, but the view there was nothing short of spectacular!

Finally reached the top!
Too bad it doesn’t go all the way up but the view from here is spectacular.

And just as when I thought I’ve had enough vitamin sea already, I spent the rest of the afternoon again at the beach.  This, while we wait for our next island activity, the sunset cruise.

Even by the seashore, you can see a lot of different fish species.
They’re practically invisible as they’re about the same color as the sand but if you look closely, their shadows betray them.
Our only full day in paradise, not hesitating to get some tan!
I prefer wearing trunks like these when swimming outdoors (if none in my company would mind) so that my tan lines are not visible whenever I wear shorts.  It saves weight in my luggage too!
Excuse me while I burn some excess calories from all the buffets!
(Saying that I got a tan at this point is an understatement!)

The sunset cruise is exactly what is sounds like: a cruise while the sun is setting.  The cruise starts at Serena Pier and goes around Apulit Island.  It’s another great way of appreciating the island as you get to see its nooks and crannies that you won’t be able to reach or see from the island itself.

A squirrel?!  They actually have a squirrel here!
We saw this speedy Palawan squirrel as we stroll towards Serena Pier.
View of the island from Serena Pier, taken as we depart for our sunset cruise.
One of the rocky edges of Apulit Island.
This photo did not do any justice to the sight of the nearby islands and Palawan mainland!
Apulit Island as seen from our boat.
These are some of the caves that dot Apulit Island.
If you look closely at this cave, you may notice a natural formation that vaguely looks like a statue of a saint.
From this angle, doesn’t the island look like a dragon on its belly?
A closer look at the “head” of the “dragon.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of this cruise is we got to know some of the other guests better since our group was very small.  Before the cruise was over, our “frequencies” were starting to align and we unanimously coerced our captain to align the boat in such a way that we’d get good group shots utilizing the light from the setting sun!  And of course, our captain had no choice but be our photographer!  It was so nice of our captain to do so, all while also serving as our tour guide as we move along from spot to spot.

A much broader view of West Beach with the hill where we did our trekking.
The sun setting slowly behind the island of Palawan.
The loft-type water cottages as seen on our way back to the island.
One last view of our last sunset in Apulit Island.
A picturesque and romantic setting indeed…

We got back on the island just in time to catch happy hour at the bar!  We didn’t really plan on getting drunk but it’s a great opportunity for us to try their in-house cocktails.  Drinks are not included in our package that’s why we’re eager to catch this limited time!

This is a bar with a view!
Care for some drinks?
Trying out one of their in-house cocktails, Apulit Breeze.  It’s pretty good!

After having our dinner, we did a bit of night swimming on the pool.  It’s our last night and our last chance to savor the sound of the sea, bathe in a sky full of stars, and leisurely let time pass by…

Back again at the pool for some night swimming…

A few more of the “locals” visited us that night.  It truly is amazing to be surrounded by nature and the creatures that we share the world with.

I don’t know what this fish is called but it dropped by our cottage…
Oh, look!  More fish!
Another attempt at astrophotography with my favorite subject so far, the moon.

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Palawan Chronicles:

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